A Half-Empty Plate: Fruit and Vegetable Affordability and Access Challenges in America | Page 1
In this report, FRAC looks at the results of a Gallup survey of over one million Americans – part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project – to:1)
reports at the national, regional, state, MetropolitanStatistical Area (MSA), and Congressional District levels of lack of access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables
Examine whether lack of access relates to individuals’ reports of ill health,obesity, stress, and food hardship as well as income and race/ethnicity. Among all households across the years 2008-2010, 8.2 percent of Gallup respondentsreported that it was “not easy to get affordable fresh fruits and vegetables.” The rateof the affordability and access challenge among households with children was slightlyhigher: 9.0 percent.Confirming the results of a number of other studies, Hispanics and Blacks in theGallup survey reported considerably higher rates of difficulty in accessing affordablefresh fruits and vegetables, compared to Whites and Asians.Similarly, fresh fruit and vegetable affordability and access challenges were greaterfor households with lower incomes. Those with annual household income less than$24,000 reported problems 2½ times as frequently than those with incomes between$60,000 and $89,999 (13.8 percent vs. 5.7 percent).
Among the biggest differences observed in affordability and accessibility challenges inthe study were those in the food hardship analysis. Among those in households withfood hardship (answering “yes” to the Gallup question “Have there been times in thepast twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you oryour family needed?”), 18.5 percent reported affordability and accessibility problems,while only 5.7 percent of those in households without food hardship reported suchchallenges.The largest disparity came when measured against self-reported health status. Among people reporting poor health status, the prevalence of fruit and vegetableaffordability and access challenges was four times that of people reporting excellenthealth status (20.0 percent vs. 5.0 percent).There was a substantial gap in reported fruit and vegetable affordability andaccessibility problems between those who reported having feelings of stress theprevious day (12.2 percent) and those who did not have such feelings of stress (5.6percent).Those classified as normal weight and overweight reported lower rates of difficultywith access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables (7.8 percent and 7.4 percent,respectively) than those who were obese (9.6 percent).